This is the fifth post in the SaaS Risk Reduction
Series. In this post, I am going to talk about the importance of planning
for the maintenance and outages as a part of your SaaS strategy. Imagine putting all your data on the Clouds
and at a crucial juncture, when one of your clients desperately need some
information you have stored and you are struck because you were unaware of a scheduled
maintenance by your SaaS vendor or an unexpected outage in their network.
Imagine the business impact of such a scenario. Such risks calls for some
serious planning and I will offer some tips in this post.
It is very important to plan for the scheduled maintenance and outages before
moving your data and apps into the Clouds. The beauty of SaaS/Cloud Computing is
the availability of services offered by vendors from anywhere in the world.
There is a good chance that their maintenance window could fall during the peak
time for your business. So, it is very important
- to ask the SaaS vendor about their maintenance timeframes and make plans for
- to ask them how and when they will notify you about the scheduled
- to ask them how you can contact them to know about the status if their
service is not available beyond the announced timeframe
- to ask them if there are any fine prints on their SLA regarding the
maintenance related issues
Outages are part of any service industry and it is important to be prepared
for any such incidents too. Before moving to the Clouds, it is important for you
to check with the vendor about their emergency notification procedures. Are they
going to inform you by email and/or telephone and/or sms? Depending on their
modus operandi in emergency situations, it is also important to set up backup
communication channels. For example, if they are going to inform through email,
it doesn’t make sense to give an email address that is hosted on the vendor’s
datacenter. It is important to give another email address hosted somewhere else.
It is also important to find out if they will offer status updates on their
outages through a blog or twitter or any other communication channel. You don’t
want to be in a situation where all your important business data is on the SaaS
vendors’ datacenters and there is no update on the progress of their efforts to
fix the outage. You should only trust those vendors who keep an open channel of
communication during emergencies.
As I have told in many posts, such risks should not deter you from embracing
SaaS or any other form of cloud computing. Such risks are part of everyone’s
daily routines and a successful entrepreneur is one who understands these risks
and takes necessary steps to minimize its impact.